Kansas City, Mo. - (Box Score) Martin Methodist (Tenn.) pulled off the first upset of the 2013 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship, knocking off No. 11 Westmont (Calif.), 71-65. The RedHawks will advance to the second round and play SAGU (Texas) on Friday, March 15 at 9 a.m. CDT. The event is held at Municipal Auditorium.
Jeremy Rodgers recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds to go along with four assists for Martin Methodist, which shot 46.0 percent (23-for-50) from the field and converted 6-of-13 (.462) three-point shots. Josh Watson tallied 13 points and five assists off the bench for the RedHawks, while Justin Blake added 11 points and Demario Williams tallied 10 points.
"What an unbelievable effort from our guys tonight," said Martin Methodist head coach Scott Combs. "Westmont is one of the toughest teams we have played all season. They battled us all the way to the very end, but our guys came up with some huge plays down the stretch to keep them away."
The RedHawks (21-11) jumped out to a 13-point lead midway through the first half thanks to a 12-2 run over 4:32. Watson and Blake each tallied five points after Davie Champagnie started the spurt with a bucket inside at the 14:37 mark.
Westmont cut the lead to eight by halftime after trailing by as much as 17 points and got within three in the final seconds before Blake hit one free throw and Watson knocked down two of his own to finish off the victory.
"I'm very proud of our seniors and very proud of what we accomplished this year with 25 wins," said Westmont head coach John Moore. "I thought we dug ourselves too big a hole in the first half. We didn't play like ourselves, we missed a lot of shots and I thought we played a little tentative."
Martin Methodist controlled the game on the glass, commanding a 37-24 rebounding advantage including a 14-9 edge on the offensive end. The RedHawks also limited the Warriors to 37.5 percent shooting (21-for-56) for the game that included a 9-of-28 clip (.321) in the first half.
Preston Branson led all scorers with 19 points for Westmont while Jordan Sachs finished with 14 points, five assists and four rebounds. Christopher Miller also chipped in with 10 points and seven rebounds. Westmont ends its season at 25-8.
Westmont - The Warriors were making their 17th appearance at the Division I Men's Basketball National Championships ... Westmont is now 16-17 all-time in tournament play that includes a pair of semifinal showings (1984, 1997) and three quarterfinal berths (1972, 1973, 2002) ... The Warriors shot a season-high 88.2 percent at the free throw line, but had just 24 rebounds to mark their second-lowest total of the season.
Martin Methodist - The RedHawks improved to 7-7 all-time in tournament play, including a 5-3 mark in the opening round ... Martin Methodist improved to 15-4 on the season when outrebounding its opponent ... The RedHawks' Jeremy Rodgers recorded his eighth double-double of the season ... Martin Methodist has held the opposition to less than 65 points in 21 of its 31 games so far this season.